Community Action Stops Abuse, better known as CASA, says it saw a 78% increase in domestic violence calls last month to its Pinellas County hotline.
It’s a trend in many communities around the world as people deal with the stresses of the coronavirus pandemic, where they are often stuck at home with limited options of where to go.
“We see people not able to leave their homes and escape from an abusive partner," said CASA CEO Lariana Forsythe.
Now, being able to leave might be a little easier.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced a program offering free Uber rides for domestic violence victims.
They can use the Uber ride to get to a shelter, or someplace safe with a friend or relative.
“We examined during the month when we first had to shelter in place where we had the highest call volumes, of calls to the hotline and it was in those areas in Orange, Hillsborough and Pinellas," said Moody.
Uber is partnering with domestic violence organizations around the world, pledging 50,000 free rides for those in need.
“There’s a way for you to get to safety if your abuser is controlling access to the car, telling you you can’t leave, here’s a free way to escape the abusive situation and get somewhere safer for you and your family," said Forsythe.
Domestic violence shelters have remained open during the crisis, and victim services are still available.
Anyone who is a victim of domestic violence can contact the Florida Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-500-1119.